Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's just food.

Some people live their whole lives with a completely healthy relationship with food. When they're hungry, they eat, stop when they're satisfied, and they choose things that are filling, tasty and nourishing. They indulge when they want to, eat reasonable amounts, and feel no guilt. Maybe sometimes they gain a few on vacation, or lose too many when they're stressed, but usually they're in balance.

I'm not one of those people. In case you didn't know that already.

Why is food such a goddamn problem for me, and so many people? IT'S JUST FUCKING FOOD. You buy it, you make it, you eat it. It's not complicated.

Except it is.

I can't speak for everyone in the world, obviously. I can only speak to myself and my own experiences and my own special flavor of crazy (which today is jalapeno cheddar Cheeto). But I have come up with a few reasons why I think food is such a big fucking deal.

Food Is Such A Big Fucking Deal Because...

1) Food is delicious. I mean, obviously.

2) Food is love. When I'm happy, I reward myself with food. When I'm sad, I comfort myself with food. When I'm stressed, food calms me down, when I'm angry, food soothes me, when I'm lonely, it keeps me company. All emotions somehow feel the same to me, like anxious hot energy in my core, and ever since I was a kid I've used food as a tool to process those emotions. It's an ingrained habit. I don't know how it started, I don't know why, maybe through therapy I'll figure it out and maybe I won't, but all that matters is that them's the facts. Food is love to me. Yes, it's delicious, but that is not the motivation that drives me to binge or ballooned me up to 200 pounds in the space of a few years. When I go through periods of depression or sadness or stress, I eat. I need to come up with new ways to deal with my shit. Hence, you know, therapy and drugs and yoga and trying to be happy and all that nonsense.

3) Food is morality. From a very young age, people are taught the difference between "good" and "bad". And it doesn't take long for us humans to start applying those moral concepts to everything, including our food and nutrition. How many times have you said something like, "Oh, this is so bad for me"? Something might be an unhealthy choice for you, but that doesn't make it bad or wrong or SATANIC, and you are not bad if you eat it. IT'S JUST FUCKING FOOD. But when you're eleven, twelve, thirteen years old, and society is giving you these messages about how this donut is A KITTEN KILLER, you can definitely pick up some warped views about how to eat. And they will stick with you, and screw with your mind and your body image and your mental health. To be quite honest with you, I literally do not know what it's like to eat like a normal person. Since I turned sixteen, gained a driver's license and the freedom to feed myself, I have had two modes: diet mode, and eat whatever the hell I want mode. Even now, while I'm doing really well, I am fighting feelings of guilt and shame when I eat. It's fucked up, yo.

4) Food is unavoidable. This is a common topic raised in Weight Watchers, therapy, etc. If you're an alcoholic, you can abstain from alcohol. If you're a gambling addict, you can avoid Vegas and the Super Bowl spread. But if you're a binge eater or an anorexic or just someone who has issues with nutrition and your body, you cannot avoid food entirely. You have to deal with your enemy every day. It's in your face. It's unavoidable. You cannot go cold turkey, at least not if you want to live. These past few weeks have been  such a relief for me, because whatever weird anxiety I have surrounding food has subsided somewhat. Give credit to Big Pharma, 'cause I think my happy pills get that credit. I still have my moments, but overall the generalized panic I've endured for, you know, life, is kind of...gone? And that's kind of amazing.

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